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Potchefstroom, North West Province, South Africa: The biggest SPAR Netball Championships in history gets under way at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds at the North West University campus inPotchefstroom on Monday.

Ninety-nine teams have registered to take part in the championships, which end on Saturday with the finals. This represents close on two-thousand players and officials.

Six teams will compete in the Senior A-section. Tshwane A and Mangaung A, which both missed the championships in Cape Town in December last year, will be back. The other teams in the A-section include the defending champions, Cape Winelands A and the runners-up, Dr Kenneth Kaunda A, as well as Johannesburg A and Nelson Mandela Bay A.

The Under-21 Championships will run concurrently with the senior tournament. Defending Under-21 champions are hosts Kenneth Kaunda.

The other teams, from all over South Africa, will play in a series of lower divisions.

Netball South Africa (NSA) Vice President and tournament director Mami Diale said the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions had made it much easier to organise the tournament.

“We no longer have to be looking over our shoulder all the time to make sure that we comply with the Covid-19 restrictions,” said Diale.

“But we will still have plenty of sanitizer available and we will encourage social distancing. We have a large area here have made every effort to make sure the players are able to relax and enjoy themselves, with gazebos and rest areas for the players.”

Cape Winelands coach Nicoline Martin said she did not believe she was under pressure because of the return of Tshwane A, who have dominated South African netball in recent years.

“Every competition has its challenges and there are great players all around South Africa,” said Martin.

“I am excited to see the talent that emerges from this tournament. Yes, it’s going to be tough, but we are ready to compete.  We are here to do our best and we want to be competitive, but we don’t feel like we’re under pressure.”

Mandy Hermanus, captain of Cape Winelands said her team wanted to enjoy the tournament.

“We have a new team here, but we are well prepared and we will give it our all,” said Hermanus.

“We just have to be sure we have each other’s backs out there. I am confident we will be competitive.”

Selected matches will be broadcast on SuperSport OTT3/Channel 247 on the DSTV App (8-11 August 2022) and Variety 4/Channel 209 (12 August 2022). Finals LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3 Channel 208 (13 August 2022). Selected matches will be streaming on the SuperSport Schools App.


*Schedules subject to change at short notice